Our new 5 year strategy builds on the growth we have seen within the organisation during the lifetime of our previous 2018 – 21 ambitions. We are proud to have achieved much of what we set out to achieve despite the disruptions of the past 18 months. Having a new strategy has also allowed us to reclaim the spirit of optimism and forward focus which has always been an integral part of how the organisation works but has been harder to find in recent times.
The speed at which we adapted delivery in light of the restrictions was admirable and the team did an incredible collective job of making this happen almost overnight. However the speed of change meant the chance to reflect and learn did not take place at the time – so it’s been brilliant that in writing this strategy we have been able to learn from these changes.
We’ve also built our confidence as an organisation about delivering in new ways and have had time to reflect on how the organisation can play its role in meeting the challenges which this year has amplified for so many children and families. Services like our doorstep outreach and online groups showed how we could use the things we have always done in new ways.
We believe that our work will be critical in supporting children and families and society as a whole to recover from the negative impacts of the challenges of the pandemic and past year of disruption and create a better society for future generations. Predictions by mental health professionals indicate greater numbers of children will need support as a result of the pandemic- The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates as many as 1.5 million. For those children already struggling prior to lockdown, the effects are likely to be felt to a far greater extent.
Our new strategy sets out how the tried and tested methods of Chance UK, long successful in supporting children through intensive mentoring and more recently through workshops aimed at building social and emotional skills can reach a wider audience. Our services are now delivered in 3 ways which will help us scale up to better support the increased and changing needs of children and families. Universal services – which include a range of school workshops useful for all children, groups aimed at building social and emotional skills through a range of fun activities run in 10-12 week terms and our intensive mentoring offer for those who benefit from longer term, more intensive and focused 121 support .
Across each of these service tiers we will also be providing a range of support for parents building skills, confidence and new opportunities for families.
The new strategy keeps the thing that make Chance UK special. Our focus on the 5 – 13 age range, the belief that all children and families have strengths that we need to recognise and build on and a focus on developing social and emotional skills and resilience. And it pushes all of these further – so that we can do more and meet the challenges that are faced.
Key changes we have brought in include widening out the ways that we provide our support and services in line with the feedback from children, parents, stakeholders and staff. We will also be focusing on the community around the child – including school staff recognising that for children having all those who they spend significant amounts of time with working in the same way is a hugely positive development.
A further key change is that we are transitioning to a Youth Worker led model for the delivery of our mentoring services, following a successful pilot which showed a range of advantages. Our Youth Worker team bring a range of experience and expertise which is enhancing the way we work and children and families love working with them too. We also remain committed to involve Volunteers and the incredible energy and commitment they bring in other ways in-line with our new delivery model.
While there are certainly challenges ahead, we are optimistic that our reputation for high quality, impactful and evidence-based services, focussed on the needs of children and families, will help us to continue to help children to realise their potential and build a better future